SAVE Newsletter, Summer 2014 – Seafield House article
SAVE Britain’s Heritage continue to provide tremendous support to the Friends of Seafield House and have featured an update on the Seafield House campaign in their Summer 2014 newsletter. The article covers the neglect of Seafield House, the continued refusal by NHS Ayrshire & Arran of the £1,000 financial assistance SAVE offered towards gutter cleaning, and our hope that the sale will be concluded soon with a sympathetic new owner.
The Summer 2014 newsletter provides updates on SAVE’s ongoing campaigns, including the recent success of their campaign to save Smithfield Market. Download the full Summer 2014 newsletter from the SAVE website.
AHSS Autumn 2013 – The Campaign to SAVE Seafield House in Ayr
The Autumn 2013 issue of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) magazine featured an article on the Seafield House campaign. The article was written by our own Rob Close, Chair of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH), and outlines the importance of Seafield House and the history of the campaign to save it.
The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland is concerned with the protection, preservation, study and appreciation of Scotland’s buildings and has about 1000 members throughout Scotland and beyond. Our thanks go to AHSS for publishing the article and the tremendous boost it will give to awareness of our campaign.
Read the AHSS magazine article – The Campaign to SAVE Seafield House in Ayr.
Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) were saddened to hear of the death of architectural historian, Professor Charles McKean on 29th September 2013.
Charles McKean was a professor of Scottish Architectural History at the University of Dundee. He was the author of many books, including “Battle for the North”, a study of the war between the two rival railway companies, the North British and the Caledonian, to offer the fastest route from London to Aberdeen and the north of Scotland. In this book Charles McKean, highlighted the vital role that William Arrol had played in ensuring the successful construction of both the new Tay Bridge and the Forth Railway Bridge. In addition to his teaching and research, Charles McKean took an active role in several organisations which supported the preservation of of Scottish architectural heritage and he had been very generous in offering advice to FoSH on the campaign to save Seafield House.
Read his obituary in The Herald.
SAVE Britain’s Heritage is a campaigning and conservation group championing the cause of endangered historic buildings. SAVE have been firm supporters of Friends of Seafield House from the beginning, offering fantastic support and advice. We are delighted that, on the back of Ryden’s marketing drive and Developers Open Day, SAVE have featured Seafield House on their website as Building of the Month.
SAVE President Marcus Binney says: “we welcome the NHS trust’s decision to put the house on the market with the focus on restoration by means of enabling development. It is vital that the price sought takes account of the work needed to repair the listed building. The NHS Trust that owns it does not insure it as it has a self-insuring policy. In this case no money at all has been spent on repairs. To achieve a good scheme with a sensitive and a not excessive amount of new build in the grounds, it is vital to acknowledge the need for a scheme which provides the necessary investment in the historic building. It is also vital that in any planning permission the developer is obliged to repair the building at the same time that the first quarter of the development takes place. There should be no prospect of the land being sold off separately for development while the house is left derelict and unrepaired.”
Seafield House was visited last week by two renowned academics who are experts in architectural conservation, both of whom are interested in getting involved with the project to save Seafield House.
Visiting Seafield House
Cristina Gonzalez-Longo is a lecturer in Architectural Heritage Conservation and Community Identity at the University of Strathclyde and Dimitris Theodossopoulos is an expert in the structural aspects of historic architecture and a lecturer in architectural structures and conservation technology at the University of Edinburgh. Cristina starts a new masters course in conservation at the University of Strathclyde in autumn 2014. She has been a project and resident architect in high-profile design and conservation projects, such as the Grade A Listed Queensberry House, which is part of the new Scottish Parliament building. Cristina approached FoSH with the proposal of a PhD studentship or knowledge exchange project and we welcome her input and expertise.
Having seen Seafield House, Cristina & Dimitris have asked us to share their thoughts on Seafield House and its future:
“Seafield House deserves to be preserved and conserved as the grandest of the houses and summer villas that the new professional and merchant classes built in Ayr in late Victorian times, making the area popular as a summer retreat. This elegant Italianate villa represents the culmination of that period, both for its location (at the end of a row of stylish villas along the Old Racecourse Road) and as a legacy of its owner, Sir William Arrol, one of the major British civil engineering contractors. Unfortunately, a fire has devastated its interior, but there are still fine internal fittings to be put in storage as soon as possible to ensure their conservation. The current status as a shell allows for a variety of possible reuses – for example, residential or part of a wider school facility. Moreover, given that its grounds sit in a strategic position between the Old Racecourse and the seashore, its redevelopment can provide increased urban permeability and enhanced public access to the beach, compared to the fragmented access that characterises the seafront area almost until Wellington Square. Once linked, the site can offer a further recreational pole between Ayr Pavilion and the Belleisle Municipal Golf Course. For an effective and sustainable conservation to be achieved, the project should start with a masterplan of the area.”